Earth’s Climate Past, Present, and “Back to the Future”
The Estes Valley Astronomical Society (EVAS) in conjunction with The Estes Park Memorial Observatory is offering a free public open house/star night on Saturday, January 28th, 7 PM. The goal of EVAS is to promote amateur astronomy and education in the Estes valley.
This public talk, supplemented with visual aids, is intended for a general audience. We will examine changing climatic conditions on Earth, from its origin just over 4.5 billion years ago to the present.
In astronomy, we employ our telescopes to look out into space and back in time to view the Universe as it existed in the past. Then we can use the past to extrapolate into the future in order to understand how the Universe’s overall “climate” will continue to cool over time. With the Earth, we can also use past atmospheric and associated climate conditions to envision where the present rapidly-changing composition of our atmosphere may be leading us. As we take such a look “back to the future,” the Earth will still be here, but it will probably be significantly altered.
Our speaker is Dr. Gordon MacAlpine a retired astronomer, physicist and a member of the EVAS club. He received a BA in physics from Earlham College and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin. After a stint at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan where he was a Professor of Astronomy until 2000. Then he accepted the Zilker Distinguished Professor of Physics chair at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, where he continued teaching astronomy, physics, and environmental science until his retirement in 2012. Gordon and his wife, Barbara, recently moved to Estes Park.
The observatory is just north of the high school at 1600 Manford Ave. Park in the teacher’s parking lot between the high school and the observatory. The doors will open at 7:00 pm and the meeting will start at 7:30 pm. The presentation, including a question and answer period, lasts about an hour. After the presentation, weather permitting, we will look through our new 16 inch dome telescope at various celestial objects.